Lace up your trainers and get fit for Cancer Focus

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Olympic rowing silver medalist Richard Chambers is calling on everyone to get involved in this year’s Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon on May 6 - and has words of wisdom to give anyone who needs to get in training, whther for the marathon, the walk, fun run or relay.

Richard is appealing to the whole community to sign up for a marathon event and help raise much-needed cash for cancer patients and their families in Northern Ireland.

Richard said: “I’ll be totally honest...running is not my sport. I only do a small amount of running in the early season for cross training purposes. I’m more used to sitting on my backside on a bike, rowing machine or in a boat. But sport is sport whatever you do and you always need to be prepared for whatever session you enter into.

“As a rower when I race it is more than 2000m. I have a set warm up that I do on the land and then I go through a warm up routine on the water before the big race.

“Having a warm up is important for many reasons. Mentally it helps you get ready for what you are about to do. Most important it prepares the body. The warm up is an opportunity to work at a slow pace to increase muscle movement and then stretch. This is also important as it decreases the chance of injury while exercising.

“Running a marathon is a huge undertaking and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It will take a lot of training and dedication just to complete the distance. With each training session that you do it will be important to warm up and fuel up. Before starting the warm up it is important to ensure that you have eaten enough carbohydrates and that you are sufficiently hydrated. Try not to exercise too soon after eating, as it can be quite uncomfortable.

“Start your warm up with a little gentle running or walking and then slowly increase the speed over five minutes once you feel the muscles starting to relax and warm up. Before I start a long training session I run through a dynamic warm up. Lying on my back I keep my legs straight and then one leg at a time I swing them into the air until I feel a small stretch in the hamstring. As the muscle warms up the range of swing will increase. This same exercise can be applied to the upper body and back as well.

“Normally I am on the water for 100 minutes at a time so we start off steady and then build to the right intensity with in the first half hour of an outing. This can also be applied going out for a run.

“Once the training is completed there are two important steps to follow: Stretch – Make sure to stretch and hold on all major muscle groups; Refuel – it is really important to rehydrate and eat carbohydrate and protein as soon as training is completed; This allows the body to replenish what it has used.

“Lastly enjoy the training - it will make the racing more fun!”

To register for a marathon event log on to www.belfastcitymarathon.com. For more information about Cancer Focus call our Marathon Team on 028 9066 3281, click on www.cancerfocusni.org or email belfastmarathon@cancerfocusni.org